“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” – Jim Morrison
Clip above critically talked many things happening in Khmer society after disarming and resettling in Phnom Penh of those soldier. Sovanna is truly recalling pains and traumatic memories during his warfare in the jungle. His revelation shows PTSD syndromes like many other military around the world after returning back home, with complete survival or disability. Sovanna is not different from many Vietnamese soldier who battled in Cambodia during 1979 to 1990. One of them who left their painful memos is Nguyen Thanh Nhan. His book titled “Away From Home Season” described many things that Cambodian people and the world should grasp their sorrow and regrets in waging war within Cambodia soil. In the news reported by BBC, Nhan said:
“American soldiers thought they helped Vietnam. Then their illusion was broken” , “We were the same in Cambodia.”
Sovanna is ashamed as he is still alive while many friends of his were dead; and he is absolutely ashamed by the new situation he has been experiencing in Phnom Penh.
Sovanna is from a farmer family and his friend Maly and Phal are also from farmer family. Nhan is also from a farmer family. He crooned a children song reflecting his life “My dad goes to plough in early morning. My mom goes to plough in early morning. My dad is a peasant. My mom is a peasant…” [chapter 10, page 89]
Three disarmed soldier, Sovanna is considered luckier while Maly has been overwhelmingly traumatized after his wife sold out all land to feed children and married a new husband, Phal has become disable person with one limp lost by mine. Maly has taken advantaged from the current social corruption by allowing himself to flow along the stream. He can do everything to get money, fearful social status and power. Sovanna, by good companion of his Uncle, he has worked hard to strive against the social stream. He tried to seek family happiness with his beloved girl friend, Srey Peouv, and to remain in moral conduct and ethical behavior. But social compelling and its surrounding pressure destroyed all his efforts. Finally, Sovanna was shot to dead by his friend, Maly. His beloved girl friend, Peouv, remained the job as Srey Bar or Sex Worker woman. Maly bought his Police Commander in Chief position in which it is powerful, admirable and fearful status in the society after Sovanna died.
Freedom that is rightly articulated by Sovanna’s Uncle, it requires sacrificing…it is like a man is running through the minefield…the persons who are fighting for freedom is like a child who is already severely battered. Or freedom like a birth in a cage, or frog in the well. Cambodian feet are soaking in the mud…every step is a mud step!
Paris Peace Agreement (PPA) is a new hope to get away from that mud step. The effort of the international communities is the huge external help for FREEDOM. Each state and country has their own problems. Our problems and freedom are our own feet. PPA is an instrumental tool for us to raise up ourselves high, higher than the dream we all have dreamed for, for not such existing “Peace and Freedom”. Jim Morrison already reminded us (with above saying) that Peace and Freedom demands our collective effort, individual participation, and subconsciousness.
After the first article was sent, I got many emails back. Among those, I would like to select wisdom sharing from Dr. Long Mong Hay and questions from So Munin of Campro.
I am going to try to answer So Munin questions one by one, but be assured that this is my personal view from my own researches into the matter.
1. Who are the parties to the Accord? What are their respective obligation?
Those 19 countries are the parties namely “the Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Canada, People’s Republic of China, the French Republic, the Republic of India, Republic of Indonesia, the Japan, the Republic Lao, Malaysia, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Kingdom of Thailand, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.”
The obligations to the treaty as assigned within the agreement in article 4 as stated “The Parties to this agreement ask all other States to recognize and respect in all respects the sovereignty, independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and national unity of Cambodia and to refrain from any action incompatible with these principles or with other provisions of this agreement.”
2. What is the validity period of the Accord?
It shall be lasted forever until some unpredictable circumstance(s) occurred. I am saying this, previous accords such as Independence Day of Cambodia (9 November 1954) or Geneva Agreement on Cambodia at the same year resulted different outcomes. While French didn’t violate the Independence Day, but Vietnam violated the Geneva Agreement not to interfere internal Cambodia or invade Cambodia etc.
It might be because of the world changing or powerful bloc had taken sides etc.
But up to today, the PPA is very essential and it is a task in the action.
3. When one or some of the parties breach its/their obligation under the Accord, what can other parties do? What roles would/could UN do when the Accord is violated?
I think it is already clearly stated in article 5 with three bullets:
1. In the case of violation or threat of violation of sovereignty,
independence, integrity and territorial inviolability, neutrality and unity
of Cambodia or one any commitments made under this agreement, the Parties to this agreement undertake to immediately conduct consultations to take all appropriate steps to ensure compliance with such commitments and address these cases of violation by peaceful means.
2. These provisions may include, among other things, the referral to the UN Security Council or the use of the means of peaceful settlement of disputes referred to in Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations .
3. Parties to this agreement may also request the assistance of the co-Chairmen of the Paris Conference on Cambodia.
4. In the event of serious violations of the Human rights in Cambodia, they will ask the competent organs of the Organization of the United Nations to take any other appropriate measures to prevent and put an end to these violations in accordance with the relevant international instruments.
Thank you very much,